This episode is a little different from other "LHOTP" episodes. Most of these scenes take place in 1880's Chicago. It is clearly juxtaposed against the pastoral, simplistic lifestyle of Walnut Grove. The scenes of Chicago are lavish, Victorian and fun.
So, you've heard the story: Mary meets up with her long-lost beau, John Jr., only to find that he now only swings with a big city debutant. The B-plot is rather interesting: Pa gets selected to represent Walnut Grove at the Grange convention in Chicago. (What a co-wink-ee-dink! That's how Mary got the free trip to Chicago!) But Pa gets terribly disillusioned with the Grange after getting culture shocked by bribes, newspaper lies, under-the-table dealings, hard booze and "fancy women." Personally, I thought this all worked out for the best for our dear Mary. John Jr. was such a little twerp. Pa confronts John Jr, "Do you love my daughter?" "I care for her deeply," the mealy-mouthed John replies. "I said, 'do you love her?'" "No, sir. I was going to write her a letter when she got home." Pa retorts, "When you first told her you loved her, did you write her a note?" John whines, "But, it's different with me. I'm a writer, dweeb, dweeb, dweeb." (Oh, Pa. At least muss his clothing a bit!) So, Mary gets her heart shattered to pieces but hey - she gets to meet too-cute Mike Lookinland on the train ride back home! And Mary eventually goes on to bigger and better things. Was that Adam Kendall a hunk, or what?